Ospreys vs Ulster: Baloucoune returns as Ulster make seven changes

Lions prop Jack McGrath returns to a bench role after a 13-month hip injury lay-off

Robert Baloucoune starts for Ulster against Ospreys on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Robert Baloucoune starts for Ulster against Ospreys on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Robert Baloucoune is one of seven new faces in the Ulster starting lineup as they prepare to take on the Ospreys on Saturday (3pm kick-off, live on Premier Sports).

The Ireland wing makes his first appearance for his province since linking up with Andy Farrell’s Autmn Nations Series squad as he comes in to replace Craig Gilroy on the wing.

Elsewhere, after impressing in the win against Leinster, James Hume is given the week off with Angus Curtis slotting into the 13 jersey. Stuart McCloskey retains his spot in midfield.

Up front in the pack, Eric O’Sullivan replaces Andrew Warwick at loosehead who drops out of the 23 entirely as Jack McGrath starts on the bench. It is the first appearance for the 2017 Lion in 13 months due to a hip injury. Brad Roberts and Tom O’Toole also come in as part of a fresh frontrow from last week.

Kieran Treadwell replaces Sam Carter at lock, while Greg Jones drops out in favour of Sean Reidy in the backrow. Jones suffered a head injury last week at the RDS.

There is still no Duane Vermeulen as the Springbok number eight continues to recover from Covid.

Nathan Doak continues in a bench role as John Cooney keeps the starting scrumhalf jersey.

This is Ulster’s last URC action before a daunting trip to take on Clermont in their Champions Cup opener.

Ospreys for their part are captained by Wales international Rhys Webb who partners Stephen Myler at halfback. Alex Cuthbert starts in the backthree alongside Dan Evans and Luke Morgan, while international centre Owen Watkin lines out at 12.

Tomas Francis bolsters the frontrow while fellow international Bradley Davies starts at lock.

Gareth Anscombe can be called on from the bench, as can Irish-born former Highlanders lock Jack Regan.

Ospreys: Dan Evans; Alex Cuthbert, Michael Collins, Owen Watkin, Luke Morgan; Stephen Myler, Rhys Webb (Capt.); Gareth Thomas, Sam Parry, Tomas Francis; Rhys Davies, Bradley Davies; Will Griffiths, Jac Morgan, Morgan Morris.

Replacements: Elvis Taione, Nicky Smith, Tom Botha, Jack Regan, Ethan Roots, Reuben Morgan Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler.

Ulster: Mike Lowry; Robert Baloucoune, Angus Curtis, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Eric O’Sullivan, Brad Roberts, Tom O’Toole; Kieran Treadwell, Alan O’Connor (Capt.); Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney, David McCann.

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Mick Kearney, Marcus Rea, Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.